Dr. Joseph T. Bombelles

DR. JOSEPH T. BOMBELLES

In Memoriam

bomOne of the founders of the Association for Croatian Studies (ACS) and its former president for many years, Joseph T. Bombelles died in Norfolk, Virginia, on July 5, 2011, after battling cancer for some time. He was born on June 2, 1930. His father, Count Joseph Bombelles, was executed in 1942 by the Croatian regime at the time, while Tito’s communist regime confiscated the family property. He and his mother lived in Zagreb.

After earning a law degree at the University of Zagreb, he went to The Hague to study international law and didn’t return to his native Croatia until it became independent twenty years ago. Soon after coming to the West, he asked for political asylum in Germany and became a political emigrant. While in Germany, his fiancée, Georgia Nina Lolić from Zagreb, joined him and they were married in Munich in 1955.

In 1956, the young couple came to the United States and settled in Cleveland. As experienced by a number of other educated Croatian immigrants, at first he worked in a machine shop in order to make a living. In the early 1960s, he began to teach German and Russian to engineering students at the Case Institute of Technology. He also enrolled in graduate school and earned his Master’s and doctoral degrees in economics at Case Western Reserve University. His dissertation, “Economic Development of Communist Yugoslavia”, was published in 1968 by the Hoover Institute, Stanford University.

Dr. Bombelles taught economics at John Carroll University for 30 years, from 1968 to 1998. He was a demanding but well-respected professor, both by his students and by his fellow-faculty members. For this reason, he received John Carroll’s Distinguished Faculty Award. He was also a Fulbright scholar.

Although he had a successful career, a wonderful family, and truly enjoyed and loved American freedom and democracy, he never forgot his homeland and its people. He desired independence, freedom, democracy, and prosperity for everyone, especially for his Croatian people. For that reason, he was instrumental in organizing various scholarly gatherings to discuss issues dealing with Croatia and the Croatians, at home and abroad. With the same purpose, he and several other Croatian scholars of that generation, founded the Association for Croatian Studies in 1977. We are thankful to him and the others for their enthusiasm, vision, and endurance!

As soon as Croatia became independent, Dr. Bombelles undertook concrete steps to promote democratization and free market economy in his homeland. His goal was not to make money, but to contribute to the education of new generations in their understanding and appreciation of freedom, democracy, free enterprise, and good work ethics. These were all values that he found worthy of transferring to a society that was coming out from under the rubble. With this noble objective in mind, he became one of the founders of a private business school, the Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM), and served as its chairman. He was instrumental in establishing good working relations between John Carroll University (some other universities too) and the ZSEM, which are beneficial on both sides of the Atlantic, especially in the area of student and faculty exchange.

Besides his professional career, Dr. Bombelles will be remembered for being a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. He was a true gentleman and a friend to many of us. After his retirement in 1998, he spent much time in Zagreb, but every time he came back to the US, he would call, inquiring what was going on at the ACS and how could he help in the advancement of Croatian studies. We are thankful to Dr. Bombelles for his true friendship and collegiality. We are glad that he was a part of our lives as we were of his, even in a small way. The advancement of Croatian studies was our common goal and that, in turn, lead to a true friendship. We thank him for both!

To his dear wife Nina, his two sons, and four grandchildren, we extend our sincere sympathy. To our friend Joža, we say farewell and may the Good Lord grant you eternal peace.

Ante Čuvalo, Ljubuški

(Bulletin of the Association for Croatian Studies – No. 57 Fall 2011)

Stjepan Šešelj – Približene daljine duhovne Hrvatske



Stjepan Šešelj. Približene daljine duhovne Hrvatske

Zagreb: Hrvatska kulturna zaklada – HKZ Hrvatsko slovo, 2009.

bez-naslovaPredstavljanje knjige u Čapljini, 14. travnja i Opuzenu, 15. travnja 2010.

Knjigu Stjepana Šešelja „Približene daljine Duhovne Hrvatske“ s guštom sam pročitao te, osim njegova lijepa i za mene, koji sam dugo godina živio u emigrantskoj Hrvatskoj osvježujućeg hrvatskog izražaja, ona me je podsjetila na mnoga događanja, ljude, rad, zebnje i nade iz nedavne prošlosti u domovini i hrvatskom raseljeništvu. Jedan broj ljudi koje knjiga spominje nije više s nama, mnogo se toga promijenilo, nije sve kako smo sanjali i kako smo mogli ostvariti, ali hrvatski narod je tu, Hrvatska država (kakva je takva je) je tu, treba se i dalje boriti, treba i dalje ne samo sanjati, nego još više raditi i graditi bolju budućnost za sve Hrvate i svijet u kojem živimo.

Nisam književnik i o knjizi ne ću s tog vidika, nego ću iznijeti nekoliko natuknica kao povijesničar. Naime, ova je knjiga i važan povijesni izvor. Ona doprinosi sagledavanju hrvatske povijesti, u prvom redu kulturne povijesti od ne tako davnih 1980-tih pa do unatrag koju godinu. Knjiga će ostati trajan svjedok vremena koje je bilo presudno za opstojnost hrvatskog naroda, vremena kad je pucao ne samo Berlinki zid, nego i zid između domovinske i raseljene Hrvatske.

Prilozi, nastajali kroz dvadesetak godina, svrstani su u knjizi u četiri cjeline, ali ja bih to malo pomiješao i podijelio u tri povijesna razdoblja: 1. Susret s raseljenom Hrvatskom; 2. Rušenje bedema koji je dijelio Hrvate; 3. Zatišje, gubljenje kompasa…

Prvo, autor otkriva bogato hrvatsko kulturno blago koje je bilo zabranjeno voće, o kojem se u domovini desetljećima nije smjelo čitati, pisati pa ni šaputati. Zid (bedem) je bio visok, a stražarski psi ispred njega gladni mesa i krvi. Tek 1980-tih, točnije 1987., autor probija zid i dolazi u Kanadu, a godinu dana kasnije u Australiju; dolazi bez predrasuda. Kamo god je prošao i koga god je susreo, od vankuverskih ribara do znanstvenika i poslovnih ljudi u Torontu i Ottawi, ili mladih sveučilištaraca u Sidneyu, on otkriva „zabranjenu Hrvatsku“; Hrvate koji su bili ne samo fizički daleko, nego od domovine razdvojeni i krvavim jugo-komunističkim bedemom. Stjepan je uvijek znao, ali sad i uživo otkriva da, usprkos zidovima i daljinama, među raseljenim Hrvatima postoji čvrsto zajedništvo duha, srca i uma s domovinom. Autor uočava značenje vizije divnog pjesnika i domoljuba Viktora Vide, koji tragično umire u Argentini, o Duhovnoj Hrvatskoj, te on taj san ne samo počinje sanjati, nego i doprinosti njegovu ostvarenju. Stjepan uviđa da kulturna povijest Hrvata u tuđini nije pustinja, nego plodan vrt, pun šarenog i mirisnog cvijeća koje je raslo i cvijetalo iza zida kojim su nas vlastodršci razdvajali. On to bogatstvo želi uokviriti u zajedničku Duhovnu Hrvatsku, zajedničku riznicu svih Hrvata. I to ne ostaje samo želja, nego se autor odmah, sa svojim istomišljenicima, onako po skrivečki, pobrinuo za utemeljenje Skecije za proučavanje književnosti u hrvatskom iseljeništvu unutar Društva hrvatskih književnika i Hrvatskog P.E.N.-a. Uskoro nakon toga skromnog početka došlo je do pada ne samo Berlinskog zida, nego i svih ideoloških i režimskih bedema. Dolazi trenutak zajedničkog rada za slobodu.

Drugo razdoblje bijaše burno, uzbudljivo, plodonosno i krvavo. Ali u tom zlu bijaše i dobra: u ratnoj agoniji dolazi do hrvatskog zajedništva, a srpska agresija otvara oči mnogima (na žalost ne svima) koji nisu vidjeli da Jugoslvija nikad nije bila „jugoslavenska“, najmanje hrvatska, već uvijek srpska.

Tih burnih godina, od samog početka novih gibanja, autor posvećuje veliku pozornost Duhovnoj Hrvatskoj. On postaje jedan od važnijih domaćina mnogim kulturnim i inim hrvatskim djelatnicima koji su pristizali iz svijeta u domovinu. On ih dočekuje, prati i o njima piše. Njegova štiva svjedoče da to radi srdačno i srčano, s ljubavlju. Povratnici, stalni i privremeni, osjećaju se njemu bliski, kao da su zajedno rasli. Bilo da su to tri mlada Hrvata rođena u Australiji, Drago Brajak, koji je kao dječak dospi u Argentinu ili Jozo Vrljičak koji je rođen tamo, Vinko i Štefica Nikolić iz Barcelone, Malkica Dugeč iz Njemačke, Vinko Grubišić iz Kanade ili…. On se njima i svima koji se vraćaju istinski raduje, svima želi dobrodošlicu, u njima gleda sve Hrvate koji su rasuti svijetom, a u isto su vrijeme dio domovine. Autor misionarskim žarom pomaže ostvarenju sna Viktora Vide i na tisuće drugih sanjara i ljubitelja hrvatske slobode diljem svijeta.

Ovo povijesno razdoblje, uglavnom ratno, bilo je i najplodonosnije i u približavanju emigrantske književnosti domovini. Mnogi od zabranjenih pisaca postaju članovi Društva hrvatskih kniževnika i Hrvatskog P.E.N.-a. Objavljeni su „Prinosi za povijest književnosti u Hrvata“; zbirke emigrantskih pjesama; pokrenuta je „Korabljica“, časopis za proučavanje hrvatske književnosti u iseljeništvu, kojoj je Šeselj urednik; organiziraju se znanstveni skupovi; uspostavalja se Ministarstvo za iseljeništvo, itd. Ove i mnoge druge djelatnosti su bile dio napora u ostvarivanju Duhovne Hravatske.

Treće razdoblje je možda više moja nadogradnja nego autorovo razgraničenje, ali ono se u knjizi ipak nazire. Ovo razdoblje je najbolje uobličeno u naslovu: „Razočran sam, ali izlagat ću u Hrvatskoj.“ Pod tim naslovom objavljen je autorov razgovor s argentinskim i hrvatskim umjetnikom Dragom Brajkom prigodom izložbe njegovih slika u rodnom Karlovcu. Na otvaranju izložbe, da nije bilo članova njegove obitelji, bio bi sam. Pozvan je, dat mu je prostor u galeriji, ali dalje nitko ništa nije učinio. Za ono što se događa u Hrvatskoj Brajak na jednom mjestu veli: „Ja to ne shvaćam!“ Ali nije on sam, ne shvćaju ni mnogi drugi unutar i izvan granica Republike Hrvatske.

Tri važna razloga za usporavanje procesa približavanja daljina i jačanja Duhovne Hrvatska autor je u svojim tekstovima također natuknuo. Prvo, vanjski zidovi su popucali (Berlinski i jugo-kuomunistički), ali su ostali zidovi u nama, zidovi straha, nerazumijevanja i sebičnosti. Drugo, politika, bolje reći stranačka politika, je nastojala upregnuti sve i svakoga u svoja kola. Ono što se nije dalo podjarmiti, to je u najmanju ruku ignorirano. Ali književnost, kultura, duh, posebice slobodan duh raseljene Hrvatske, ne može se podjarmiti nikakvoj stranačkoj politici i/ili ideologiji. To je plod ljubavi a ne politike, ideologije ili koristoljublja. Treće, raseljena Hrvatska je puno pogriješila kad je u trenutku ushićenja radi obnove hrvatske države ugasila mnoga društva, publikacije i razne druge djelatnosti misleći da je njezina misija dovršena. Ali nije bilo ništa dovršeno, izgradnja Hrvatske bez granica se nastavlja, i mora nastaviti. Nikakve udaljenosti, granice, stranke i ideologije ne mogu – ne smijemo dozvoliti! – razbiti jedinstvo hrvatskog jezika, kulture i duha. Knjiga Sjepana Šešelja nek bude poticaj da svi zajedno nastavimo sanjati, kao i Viktor Vida, i graditi Hrvatsku bez granica – Duhovnu Hrvatsku.

Ante Čuvalo

From an American of Croatian Descent


FROM AN AMERICAN OF CROATIAN DESCENT

Dr. Clement S. Mihanovich on his Croatian heritage

(Dr. Mihanovich, St. Louis, MO, 1913 – 1998)

mihMost of us have been born in poverty but reared in integrity.
Many of us have illiterate but intelligent and astute parents.
We were taught to be proud and never accepted a dole or charity during the so-called Great Depression.
We were taught to serve God and the country of our birth and to honor the nation that sired our parents.
We were imbued with the vigorous history of the Croats.
We took pride in the beauties of the Dalmatian Coast, the towering peaks of the Dinaric Alps, the deep forests of Lika, the warrior-spirit of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the loveliness of Zagreb, the ancient and glorious history of Split, the splendors of Sibenik and Dubrovnik, idyllic atmosphere of the pear-like islands of the Adriatic.
We listened to and read the epics of the Croats long dead but never forgotten.
We memorized the great title of honor given to the Croats, “antemurale christianitatis” and we never tired of repeating it to our American friends.
We sang the sad and happy songs of our ancestors.
We danced the kolo and played the tamburitza.
We listened to Croatian priests whose spirit of Christianity and Croat nationalism never waned.
We attended a Croatian parochial school, learned the Croatian language and literature, prayed Croatian prayers, and sang Croatian hymns.
We ate Croatian food, drank Croatian wine, attended Croatian festive weddings, joined the Sokol and the Croatian fraternal unions.
We wrote for Croatian publications and acted in Croatian plays.
We spoke Croatian to our parents and friends with a fierce pride in the beauty and expressiveness of the language.
We buried our parents under the tricolor of the Croatian flag, with Croatian prayers on our lips, in a Croatian church, assisted by Croatian friends, and sprinkled their graves with Croatian soil.
We wrote letters to relatives and friends in Croatia and received warmest greetings and deepest expression of love.
We learned the names of our grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles and aunts, but we never saw them. The warmth and tenderness of grandparental love was denied to us.
We attended Croatian picnics and galas and watched our parents eyes glisten with joy and longing for memories of their youth in the village of their birth.
We were put to bed by rough and loving hands and lulled to sleep by a melancholy peasant lullaby.
We were greeted by “Praise be Jesus Christ!” and we learned to reply, “May He ever be praised!”
We never forgot the thundering expression “Bog i Hrvati!” once we heard it.
Because we were Croats the Americans called us “pollocks” and “hunkies” but we never took these expressions lying down and came home, many a time, with a scratched face, a bloody nose, torn clothes.
We saw our fathers come home from work covered with grime and grease. Sometimes they were brought home with a broken limb. We cried when they cried.
This was our life though most of us saw Croatia only in our mind’s eye. Because of this life, we learned to love Croatia and the Croatians as deeply as we love our own America. We were always careful to see to it that our Croatian name was not only spelled correctly but pronounced correctly.
We learned to fight for the Croatian cause, for the independence of Croatia, for the sovereignty of Croatia and its people.
We propagandized the Croatian position, the Croat plea, the yearnings of our parents, the rights of our forefathers. By doing this some of us became “persona non grata” in what is now called Yugoslavia.
We do not regret one moment of our existence. Our little hardships have strengthened our wills and polished our personalities. We have become a little stubborn and fiercely independent and self-reliant.
We learned the true meaning of independence because we lived in an atmosphere that demonstrated to us what it means to be deprived of independence and driven from your home by a dictatorial foe.
We, the American sons of Croat peasants, dedicated ourselves and our lives to giving our parents and relatives, even though they may now be enjoying life everlasting, the realization of their long dream and fervent yearning an independent state of Croatia so that their souls may rest in peace.
We also dedicate ourselves and pledge ourselves to those Croats now living in and outside the homeland that we will never forget them and the cause that is uppermost in their minds.
We only ask that all Croats forget their provincial and sectional and partisan differences, that they unite into a solid, cohesive group and all of us work for one goal and one goal only the liberation of the homeland.
From Balkania, April 1967.